Horses, books and pizza

Published on Monday 4th September 2017 by Julie Embleton

It’s September! Schools are back and chaos has returned to the motorways again. The mornings are a wee bit darker and the nights are a wee bit longer. Cardigans and hoodies have re-emerged from the wardrobes and the shops are already preparing for Christm – no – it’s too early to say that word!

Spring and Autumn are my two favourite seasons of the year, and usually, September is a nice month in Ireland. Today is a good example with blue skies and a gentle breeze holding the first hint of crisp Autumn air. A clear sign of Autumn’s approach is the swallows getting to ready to leave. For the last few days they’ve been gathering on the telegraph lines and practising their stunt flying. I’ll miss their chatter when they’re gone, but the robins are already beginning to appear and investigate the food on the bird table. With the house move, I planted my veggies late this year, so courgettes and tomatoes are only being harvested now and the aubergines will be a while yet – if I haven’t already doomed the crop by planting so late. My herbs have been harvested and at the moment the airing cupboard is full of oregano. Next weekend, the Man and I are going on a wild herb foraging course for the afternoon so I’m hoping that by this time next year the airing cupboard will jammed with lots of other herbs!

I’m very proud of this whopper courgette, even though it looks a bit dodgy.

In the time I’ve been quiet online, I’ve been busy offline and am excited to tell y’all that the final book in the Turning Moon series will be released online on October 31st! An appropriate date it is too, as the title is ‘Haunted’. To celebrate such mind-blowing news, I’ve come over all generous and will be holding a competition on my Facebook page which I’ll post up details for in the next while. I’m also going to be putting out a request for a couple of Beta readers, so if you think it’s something you might be interested in, keep your eye on my Facebook posts or pm me.

During my break, the Teenager and I took a drive across country to visit the town of Westport in County Mayo. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t with us and we were completely washed out. We had one dry day where we got to gallop on the beach at the foot of Croagh Patrick on some most obliging horses, but after that it was apocalyptic rain. It looks a bit miserable in the photo below, but just after this pic was taken, the mist hovering at the peak of Croagh Patrick lifted and the sun kind of came out.  We’ve been trekking a lot over the years and usually, the horses walk in single line with a warning from the leader about not letting certain horses near each other as they like to kick and bite. This is a real bummer when you’re trekking and want to ride side by side to have a bit of craic. Fortunately, with these stables, the horses were are all very sweet-tempered and we were able to ride alongside each other which made it extra enjoyable.

Xena (the white horse) and Harry. www.croaghpatrickstables.com

I don’t think the Tourism Board of Ireland will be looking for the rights to this photo. The Plonkers Making the Best of the Crap Weather Board of Ireland might though.

West Coast Rare Books was one of the best finds on the day we went shopping. This jewel of a shop in Westport has an amazing collection of rare books and vintage vinyl, and it was a struggle not to melt my credit card. If rare or unusual books/vinyl are your thing, I’d recommend you check them out. www.westcoastrarebooks.com

Despite how beautiful this is, I can’t imagine having the patience to use it. 

I also have to mention one last place; Monroe’s pizza. They serve, without doubt, the best Gluten Free pizza I have ever tasted. I was cheeky enough to ask the owner what flour he uses, but I was politely told that it’s taken him thirty years to perfect so he wasn’t about to share his secret with me. He also wouldn’t entertain my request for home delivery. Seeing as how Dublin is nearly a four hour drive from Westport, he kind of has a point.

Nom, nom, nom. That’s all I have to say. I wish smell’o’vision was a real thing.

Unfortunately, we got catfished on the Airbnb accommodation, so between that and the lousy weather we decided to cut our stay short. But for the horses, bookshop and pizza, I know we’ll go back to Westport again.

For now, it’s back to normality. The Teenager is back in school and the utter joy on her face each morning is a sight to behold. For me, it’s head down as I work on the final edit of Haunted and then get cracking on the cover design. Once Haunted is published, it’ll be straight back into The Voyager Chronicles series. The second book in this trilogy, The Veiling, is written, but it’s a first draft that needs a whole lot of work. My aim is to have it published in 2018, hopefully before the summer, but I won’t make any promises on it just yet.

I hope September is treating you all kindly so far. I’ll be back on Facebook with the usual random nonsense, and make sure you stay tuned for the upcoming competition!

Julie

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